2016 has definitely been a year of great change. From dirty politics to the death of icons, I’m sure most will agree that it’s time to lay 2016 to rest for good. Thankfully, amidst the many trials and tribulations we had heaped upon us this year, we had plenty of fantastic books to comfort and offer us an escape from reality.
From romance to horror…below is my list of books that helped make this year a little more bearable.
Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt– Elizabeth Hoyt’s truly outdoes herself in the 10th installment of her Maiden Lane series by giving us a deliciously unrepentant hero whose eventual redemption evolves only because of the woman that he comes to love. Darkly humorous and lushly sensual, the Duke of Sin won my heart. Review
The Sinner by Amanda Stevens– The Sinner the 4th book in her outstanding Graveyard Queen series. This dark paranormal mystery suspense is drenched in southern style gothic horror; guaranteeing you may end up sleeping with the lights on. Stevens’s powerful voice wraps her readers in a chilling embrace as she gently guilds her heroine through her world of spirits, superstition, and death with lush descriptions and delightful prose. Review
The Enforcer by Kele Moon– The 3rd book in Moon’s Untamed Hearts series is a dark and brutal look into costa nostra and three brothers who fight tooth and nail to survive it. This not a fairy tale. This is not quite a romance. This is story about a boy whose love for a girl and his family was his downfall. This story will take you through hell as it prepares you for the redemption and revenge that will soon come. And you’ll want that revenge. You’ll crave it. But you have to earn it by reading his story. And you will pay in pain and sorrow. Review
Blood of the earth by Faith Hunter– The first book in Faith Hunter’s spin-off of her best-selling Jane Yellowrock world was a hit for me. Fans will enjoy getting to know Hunter’s newest heroine, Nell, and watch her stages of evolution from hermit to agent. Action, suspense, dark magic, and a wisp of romance engaged me from the first page. Review
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne–Thorne shocked me with her debut of a hilarious office place romantic comedy that examines the thin, thin line between love and hate. Witty, sharp, and poignant, Thorne get down and dirty with office politics and the seething jealousy that thrives in such an atmosphere as she convinces her lovers that despite the opposition, they are perfect for one another.
The Revenger by Debra Anastasia– A woman standing on the edge of the abyss get a chance to settle a few scores when the freak accident that killed her family gives her an added edge. I want to note this is not a romance even though it’s tagged an untraditional HEA. There is love; along with hope, redemption, grief, hatred, revenge, and forgiveness. Using some slight of hand and strong characterization, Anastasia builds an emotional and heartbreaking noir world that breaks all the rules. Review
Eidolon by Grace Draven– The sequel to Draven’s outstanding fantasy-Radiance–expands on the love, honor, commitment, and sacrifice of a couple whose marriage united two kingdoms. Now they much pay a price to survive what’s coming for them. Action and suspense go hand in hand with exceptional humor and heartbreak. The continued world building and arc expansion only serves to further cement my love for this couple and their journey.
Family Tree by Susan Wiggs– Family Tree is a story of one woman’s journey through betrayal and pain to emerge triumph as she learns to embrace the new challenges life has in store for her. Emotionally honest and poignant with a delightful thread of humor running through it, Susan Wiggs celebrates love, loss, hope, and rebirth. Review
The Body Reader by Anne Frasier– Anne Frasier writes a compelling and thought-provoking psychological thriller that examines the stability of a police detective who was kidnapped and tortured as she struggles to solve the mystery behind who set her up and why. Frasier does a fantastic job of characterizing the heroine; allowing us to see how her captivity changed her on all levels. I hope Frasier decides to make this a series. The heroine has so much potential and her emotional grid is simply fascinating to watch. Review
Lords of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase– Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels is a laugh out loud sheer delight. A jaded, disillusioned Marquess meets his match and loses harshly when he falls for a strong, practical heroine whose take no prisoners attitude turns the Marquess and his life upside down.
Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews– I don’t have to tell any of you how much I love this series. The Kate Daniels series remains one of the strongest evolutionary Urban Fantasies to date. The familiar world draws me in while the characters and the exceptional writing holds me tight. Andrews not only ups the ante in here, they go for broke, tossing aside all the rules and embracing the outrageous, fantastical, confounding, and diabolical. Even 9 books in, this writing team remains at the top of their game. Review
Allegiance Of Honor by Nalini Singh– Nalini Singh changes things up in the 15th installment of her wildly popular Psy-Changeling series. Unlike the previous books in this series, Singh doesn’t just focus on one couple’s journey but rather gives us updates on every couple, group, race, and individual that has ever been written about. This complex and vibrant story brims with action, romance, and intrigue as Singh gathers her larger than life ensemble to finally give us the answers to questions while opening new pathways in this frightening new era. Review
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas– A Study in Scarlet is the 1st in a historical mystery series that takes a famous fictional character and offers up a new perspective for our perusal. This auspicious undertaking of gender bending offers two very different but equally compelling storylines that sweep readers along for a fascinating ride with our eccentric heroine. Strong characters, intriguing dynamics, a convoluted mystery, and a hint of romance. Review
True North by Tamsen Parker– This sweet, sensual, heartbreaking, and humorous second chance romance uses BDSM to give two people a chance to learn more about themselves and their places in this world. Parker focuses on communication, acceptability, trust, and forgiveness as she helps this couple find their happily ever after-one kinky session at a time. Review
2016 Honorable Mentions:
Burn Down the Night by Molly O’Keefe
White Tiger by Jennifer Ashley
Heated Ride by Chelsea Cameron
The Girl From Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux
One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Undecided by Julianna Keyes
Red Queen by Christina Henry
Managed by Kristen Callihan
Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy